Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Review: Seven Station Swing Set

You know what's fun for kids? A seven station swing set!
Seven Station Swing Set: It's fun AND alliterative!
Photo: KMart website
You know what's not fun for adults?

Putting the fucking thing together.

But let's begin this story way before the assembly.

Did you know that Big W advertises things in its toy catalogs that are lay-by for Christmas only?

We know this after getting to Big W and learning the eight piece swing set we wanted to buy for the kids July birthdays can only be picked-up in December, six months after ordering.

So we went to Kmart instead (it's not just for cheap and cool homewares!) and settled for seven, rather than eight, stations that we could receive immediately.

Except then they couldn't get the loading dock open for collection. After eventually finding someone who could access the loading dock, one of the boxes was damaged at one end. But we were assured by the 15-year-old that took 30 minutes to get into the loading dock it definitely hadn't been opened. I was absolutely filled with confidence.

We don't have much of a backyard, so the plan was always to travel another 150kms to the in-laws holiday home up the coast and assemble it there. The soundness of this plan was tested when, even going about 30kmh all the way home, the boxes clearly slid on the roof-racks.

I had visions of the Friday evening traffic report on the nightly news, the chopper footage of swing set parts strewn on the F1, blocking three lanes of northbound traffic.

At this moment by wife said that maybe we should've got it delivered, a useful suggestion if raised about one hour earlier. Instead she bought new ties for the roof-rack before the weekend trip. And they worked. The two boxes only slid about five centimetres heading up the coast...

On Saturday, we opened the boxes to assemble at about 11am.

There were no instructions in the damaged but allegedly unopened box. It was also obvious there was at least one other piece missing.

So then we had to find a local Kmart. Normally they would only replace parts - but we clearly didn't have time for an inventory stock-take, so eventually got them to agree to a replacement of the complete boxes. Then we had to repack and tape the boxes and load them back onto the car.

Thankfully we were able to leave the kids behind with friends staying with us, so we only needed to tie one box on the roof. The other went through the car interior - starting at the the boot, going over the back seats, and smacking me in the side of my head in the passenger seat.

While my wife drove, I put my arm around the box. This was mutually understood to be completely pointless yet somehow reassuring.

At least having just one box tied to the roof was far more secure, although the decision to overtake a marginally slower car on a single lane road was still highly questionable.

We made the boxes exchange, but it was already over two hours since we started "assembly" by now and we still had to get back.

So naturally, we got stuck behind two L-plate drivers for the entire 20km return trip. Now we've already overtaken with a box on the roof when we were stuck behind a car for about five minutes on the way there, so I was just slightly concerned about what was going to happen as patience wore thin here.

I had visions of appearing on Dash Cam Owners Australia on YouTube, with some bogan calling us a "fuckin' dickhead" for cutting off a learner driver.

Eventually we got back, and by about 230pm were ready to assemble... for real this time!

We literally got something backwards on step one, which we realised at about step four.

This was the start of getting a lot of things backwards. Basically anytime the instructions weren't explicit about which way a part went, which was often, we guessed the wrong way. It was uncanny.
Re-enactment of the build process.
More annoying than the instructions was the commentary from the kids.

You are taking a long time.

I want to play on it now!

Can't you make it faster?

This was in the first 10 minutes!

But worst of all was, can I help?

The answer is 'no'. Even when you think they can help, they will only get in the way. And we were doing enough getting in the way ourselves.

After almost four hours, three arguments and two lost washers in the lawn, we had most of a swing set completed:
Just in time for sunrise.
The next morning, we attached the slide that our friends, who thought they had come for a weekend away, had assembled while also babysitting our kids all day:
My photo skills are like my play equipment construction skills.
Note how I expertly left my jumper on the nest swing
 for scale, and how the shadow of my phone and hands in the
foreground is a metaphor for something profound.
The slide made it a six station swing set! Then we had to go home, so the mini-trampoline remains unassembled in the garage. And forget about safety measures, like anchoring it, there was no time for that and kids are wrapped in cotton wool enough these days anyway.

The kids love it, which is a big plus.

Offsetting this is the fact that marriage counselors are expensive. Also, most suburbs have a playground already.

No comments:

Post a Comment